Expert Las Vegas Odds-Maker Picks TV Host Mark Steines To Win 2013 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race Pro Handicapper Anthony Curtis Puts Actor Michael Trucco, Racing Analyst Rutledge Wood Close Behind in "Wide Open" Competition for Charitable Race

LONG BEACH, Calif., April 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --TV host Mark Steines is making his fourth return to the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, and professional handicapper Anthony Curtis thinks this might be his winning year. Steines, host of the Hallmark Channel's "Home & Family," and past "Entertainment Tonight" personality, is one of 19 participants who will race in the prestigious 10-lap charitable event on April 20 as part of the 39th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Curtis is president of LasVegasAdvisor.com and one of the world's most recognized gambling authorities. For the past six years, Curtis has bench-marked Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race participants by watching training exercises and drawing on his knowledge of the famed 1.97-mile circuit through Long Beach, Calif. streets. Steines' 6-1 odds are the longest for a favorite since Curtis began evaluating the field, and they are closely followed by the handicapping on actor Michael Trucco, racing analyst Rutledge Wood, motocross champion Andy Bell and philanthropist Carter Lay. All participants will drive 210-horsepower Scion FR-S race vehicles.

The Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the longest-running, corporate sponsored event of its kind and benefits Racing for Kids, a national fundraising program supporting U.S. children's hospitals. Since 1991, Toyota has donated more than $2 million on behalf of this race and its participants.

Last year, Curtis gave comedian Adam Carolla an early advantage in the race and the funny podcaster sped beyond them to win the race overall, even beating out the four professional drivers. This year, Carolla will race as a professional, but his odds are 12-1 due to the challenge that all professional participants face starting slightly behind the celebrities.

"This year's odds structure paints a picture of a wide-open race with several skilled celebrities challenging the pro drivers for the win," Curtis said. "Watching all the challengers in action gives me insight into who is ready for the adrenaline rush of race day and who needs more practice. In the end, the celebrities and pros alike play an important role in supporting the charitable goal of the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race."

Curtis's exclusive expert predictions are solely for entertainment purposes on www.lasvegasadvisor.com. The full list of racers' odds are as follows:

Celebrities


Mark Steines (6-1)

It's been eight years since the Emmy award-winning journalist and TV host tried for the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race trophy. He was looking strong at training and maybe the past attempts will give Steines an edge over the competition.


Michael Trucco (7-1)

Back for a second time, the actor of "Battlestar Galactica" fame loved the FR-S during training. Trucco will need to drive the sports car at his best to earn a spot in the winner's circle.


Rutledge Wood (8-1)

Another second-time racer, the racing commentator has both analyzed drivers and driven at high speeds. Can he combine the knowledge and edge out the other racers?


Jesse Metcalfe (11-1)

The "Dallas" actor may be a race rookie, but he learned to drive a NASCAR racecar for his television role. Metcalfe's fans will no doubt be cheering for him to take home the prize.


Kate del Castillo (11-1)

 The acclaimed Mexican actress is back again, with significantly improved odds over last year's 24-1. She'll need to continue her upward momentum and add some fiery passion from her movie roles to win.


Dakota Meyer (15-1)

Familiar with staying calm under pressure, the Medal of Honor recipient will need to rely on quick-thinking and driving to edge out the other racers.


Jeremy Sisto (16-1)

The "Suburgatory" star displayed lots of focus during training, but Sisto will need to dig deeper to finish strong in this star-studded competition.


Jessica Hardy (18-1)

The swimmer and Olympic medalist showed her competitive spirit and drive at training, but she must increase her pace if she's going for Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race gold in her hometown of Long Beach, Calif.


Brett Davern (18-1)

He may star in MTV's hit series "Awkward," but Davern showed track poise and a commitment to learning every technique. He'll need to overcome his inexperience to claim a victory.


Jackson Rathbone (19-1)

His role in the hit "Twilight" movie series may have earned him devoted vampire-loving fans, but the competition is alive and kicking on all sides of him.


Jenna Elfman (27-1)

The funny "1600 Penn" actress couldn't wait to get behind the wheel in training. Elfman will likely finish with a smile if she can beat out a few other celebrities.


Wanda Sykes (38-1)

The Emmy award-winning comedian had ready jokes and fun during training, but she'll need to pick up the speed if she wants the last laugh.


The Southern California Toyota dealer seat is being filled by Glenn Faber, partner and general manager of Los Angeles area Keyes Toyota. Also in this year's race are charity auction winners Dave Pasant and Carter Lay.


Carter Lay (8-1)

With a love of sports cars and desire to do good, the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race is the perfect fit for the philanthropist and LAY'S® chips heir. Can he translate it to a win?


Dave Pasant (9-1)

Participating for his fifth time, this retired insurance executive has lots of experience with the race. Pasant looked strong in training and may surprise the crowd.


Glenn Faber (17-1)

This Toyota dealer knows all about cars but will need to push the FR-S to its limits to stay competitive on race day.


The celebrity field gets a 25-second head start on the professional drivers. This year's diverse racing group includes drivers from several different types of roads.


Andy Bell (8-1)

The motocross champion and MTV's "Nitro Circus" star has earned Guinness Book World Records and made death-defying stunts look easy. Will Bell's daredevil driving land him on top of the podium?


Tyler Clary (10-1)

The Olympic gold medal swimmer has begun a second career in racing, bringing his athlete intensity and dedication. Can he triumph on the track?


Adam Carolla (12-1)

Funnyman Carolla won last year's race as a celebrity but faces stiff competition as a pro. Can he keep everyone laughing and come out ahead?


Melanie Troxel (12-1)

The National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) driver has set records driving at speeds above 300 mph but must transition to the curves and style of this race. If she can adapt, she may take the prize.

"Each year, Anthony Curtis's predications add another level of friendly competition to this charitable race event," said Les Unger, Toyota's national motorsports manager. "Our drivers push themselves to beat the odds, bringing fans a great performance and benefiting sick kids who need the support."

Each year Toyota donates $5,000 to Racing for Kids on behalf of each participant and another $5,000 to the winning racer's charity of choice. A $15,000 donation accompanies the annual People Pole Award, the People magazine–sponsored award honoring the pole-position qualifying session winner on April 19.

To learn more about the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, go to www.toyotaracing.com, visit Toyota Racing on Facebook or on Twitter @ToyotaRacing, or join the conversation with the participants using #TPCR.

NOTE: Celebrity odds are provided for entertainment purposes only. Wagering on the outcome of the race is neither encouraged nor implied.

ABOUT ANTHONY CURTIS
Anthony Curtis is one of the world's most recognized and quoted gambling authorities. The president of LasVegasAdvisor.com, he has appeared as a casino expert on "Dateline NBC," "48 Hours," A&E, E! Entertainment, Discovery, the Travel Channel, the Food Channel and the Learning Channel. He has been the subject of articles in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, San Diego Union-Tribune, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel and Discover magazine. Curtis is author of Bargain City—Booking, Betting and Beating the New Las Vegas and The Art of Gambling Through the Ages. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in tournament play, Curtis's top tournament wins include $76,000 in the World Matchplay Blackjack Championship, $125,000 in the Atlantic City Craps Championship, $50,000 in the Las Vegas Keno Championship and $60,000 in the Las Vegas Blackjack Championship.

About Toyota
Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $23 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.

Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed nearly $700 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S. 

For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/philanthropy.

CONTACT:

Les Unger    
Toyota Racing          
310-468-4709                           
les_unger@toyota.com                      

Erika Romero
Toyota Racing
310-468-3948
erika_romero@toyota.com

Rebecca Lee                                      
GolinHarris for Toyota                                                   
213-438-8827                                                    
rlee@golinharris.com

Sharon Noot
Noot Incorporated
714-527-7735
sharon@nootinc.com   

SOURCE Toyota



RELATED LINKS
http://www.toyota.com
http://www.toyotaracing.com
http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com

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